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Social Darwinism For The Public: The Tongnip Sinmun (The Independent) And The Popularization Of Social Darwinism In The 1890s

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Chapter Summary

The Tongnip Sinmun was published from April 7, by a dedicated group of reformers headed by So Chaep'il. The Tongnip Sinmun was indeed the first mass circulation organ in Korean media history that began a serious popularisation of Social Darwinist doctrines. This chapter emphasizes the influence which the'survival of the fittest' ideology exerted on various aspects of the Tongnip Sinmun's worldview. It shows that So Chaep'il and his collaborators assessed Koreans' chances to become 'fittest' and 'survive' comparatively highly, since Koreans were presumed to possess a relatively good 'natural racial background. Japan's significance to Korea was not limited to the supposed 'racial connection' or to the great impression made upon So and his associates by the degree to which the Japanese had apparently internalised modern notions of patriotism or developed European techniques of bodily discipline.

Keywords: Japan; Korea; So Chaep'il; Social Darwinism; Tongnip Sinmun



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